Excuse Me

The Survival Guide to Modern Business Etiquette

 Excuse Me

Author: Rosanne J. Thomas
Pub Date: August 2017
Print Edition: $21.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437919
Page Count: 288
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814437926

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The foundation of civility is respect, which is the outward expression of esteem or deference. This is the foundational requirement and, without that, no other behaviors ring true. Respect extends to peoples' privacy, physical space, property, viewpoints, philosophies, religion, gender, ethnicity, physical abilities, background, age, beliefs, and personality. Respect and disrespect can be shown by language, gestures, and actions. Respect is what employees say they want most from their employers and coworkers: respect for their experience, education, intelligence, skill, creativity, hard work, dedication, and the results they produce. Yet respect is what employees say they get least.

Employees, management, and organizations at large are characterized by the behaviors they exhibit and allow. Disrespectful behavior runs the gamut from neglecting basic civilities and outright rudeness to discrimination and bullying. Throughout managements' ranks, disrespect manifests itself with favoritism, subtle pressure, condoning damaging behavior or speech, neglecting to follow up on complaints of harassment or bullying, and criticizing or firing employees who voice concerns. Organizations that engage in illegal or unethical activities, such as deceptive business practices, embezzlement, and predatory pricing, and the cultures such activities create, also contribute to this problem.

It's not enough to say an organization values respect and civility. The boss who preaches the importance of respectful listening without practicing it is better off saying nothing at all. Dr. Todd Whitaker and Dr. Steve Gruenert, professors of educational leadership at Indiana State University and authors of the book School Culture Rewired, say, "The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate." It stands to reason that a culture would also be shaped by the best behavior a leader is willing to model.

An incredible 80 percent of employees believe they get no respect at work, and a whopping 95 percent report they have experienced or witnessed disrespect in the workplace, according to Christine Pearson and Christine Porath, authors of the book The Cost of Bad Behavior. Mike Miles, head of social strategy for online retailer SmartSign, said in his article "Work-place Bullying Costs Companies Billions, Wrecks Victims' Health" that the price tag to the U.S. economy for all of this bad behavior is an estimated "360 billion annually due to turnover and decreased work productivity."

Excerpted from EXCUSE ME: The Survival Guide to Modern Business Etiquette by Rosanne J. Thomas. Copyright © 2017 by Rosanne J. Thomas. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

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